Chandrayaan 2 Lander Whereabouts: What’s ISRO’s next step?

After ISRO lost communication with Chandrayaan 2’s lunar module Vikram Lander, its current challenge is to find its whereabouts and the fate of Vikram Lander.

PM Modi consoling Dr. K Sivan | Newsline | DKODING | Image Credits: New Indian Express

ISRO’s Chandrayaan 2 Mission Whereabouts: Although, India today may have lost contact with the Vikram lander, the mission has not failed entirely. In spite of Chandrayaan 2 loss during its powered descent to the lunar surface between 01:00-02:00 hours IST, ISRO’s money will be redeemed by the orbiter. The “15 minutes of terror” that Dr. K Sivan, Chairperson of ISRO, had already mentioned in one of his press conferences are now proven correct.

Current status

  • ISRO scientists are struggling to know what actually happened to the lander, why they lost the communication with the lander.

  • Whether the lander met the same fate that Israel’s Beresheet mission or may have survived as the Vikram lander was planned to land automatically by using its four thrusters and the central engine with his onboard camera to land at the exact spot.

  • Although, ISRO has already decided the landing spot; therefore, the lander just needed to compare the image which it was carrying along.

  • ISRO scientists assured that 95% of the mission is still intact as the Orbiter is still healthy and orbiting the Moon successfully.

  • The orbiter is capable of communicating with Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN)

Mission Success: Functions that will accomplish with its eight payloads

The mission life of Orbiter is only one year. However, at that time it can take several pictures of the Moon and send it to ISRO. 

  • TMC 2 (Terrain Mapping Camera 2) that will map the lunar surface and help scientist to prepare 3D maps of the lunar surface for studying mineralogy and geology and also provide clues of Moon’s evolution.

Chandrayaan-2 | Orbiter | Lander | Newsline | DKODING | Image Credits: Conde Nast Traveller India

  • OHRC (Orbiter High-Resolution Camera) for high-resolution images for landing purpose.

  • DFRS (Dual Frequency Radio Science), to study the evolution of electron density of Moon’s Ionosphere.

  • CHACE 2 (Chandrayaan-2 Atmospheric Compositional Explorer 2) to study the composition and distribution of lunar exosphere in detail.

  • DFSAR (Dual Frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar) will examine the presence of water-ice, regolith thickness and provide a high-resolution lunar mapping of the south pole.

  • CLASS (Chandrayaan-2 Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer) which will measure Moon’s XRF spectra (X-ray Fluorescence), i.e. it can decipher the precious and significant elements including silicon, sodium, iron, calcium, magnesium, aluminium, titanium and platinum.

  • IIRS (Imaging IR Spectrometer), extreme mapping of Moon, water molecules and hydroxyl along with its mineralogy. It will second CLASS findings.

  • XSM (Solar X-ray Monitor), to study the intensity of solar radiation (solar winds or charged particles) emitted by the sun’s corona. It will also second CLASS findings.

How ISRO will know the Status of Vikram Lander

According to a PTI report, Dr. K Sivan said the data is being analyzed why we have lost the connection with the lander. Furthermore, he added, there is still no connection with the lander, and it’s as good as lost. However, this doesn’t culminate in complete money loss in the Chandrayaan 2 mission. It’s virtually impossible to re-establish the connection with the Vikram lander. But the Chandrayaan space mission has not failed.

As per the India Today report, the scientists will now be investigating the reason for communication failure through the key database that consists of sensor data, emissions, and signals at the last stage of descent. The Chandrayaan 2 space mission is not considered failed.

The Orbiter would take pictures of the lander to know to the exact status and map out the clues if there were any performance divergence. However, ISRO will also try to obtain possible information from other space agencies to look into the matter.

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